Radio Frequency Identification Device or Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

These chips store two numbers one to represent the product ID (same with the information that bar codes used) and one to represent the unique tag ID. While this store has claimed in its brochures that deactivated kiosk located at store exists overwritten and could be read days later and hundreds of kilometers away from the store with an inexpensive RFID reader purchased over the Internet. Furthermore, payback cards distributed at this store to give discounts and rewards to frequent customer that contained embedded RFID tags that can transmit the identity of the owner to readers up to five feet away even if the card is in a wallet or pocketbook.

Information Security

Because RFID tags transmit data using radio signals, concern arises from the possibility of these signals being intercepted by a third party. A tag intended to send bank account information to scanners at the local grocery store might instead be signaled by a thief with his or her own scanner. While it can be argued that any information can potentially be stolen, this situation is particularly dangerous because the information can be accessed in public without alerting the owner. Many RFID systems under development and in use currently implement encryption algorithms to help protect sensitive data. However, some groups are concerned data stored on RFID chips may still be susceptible to malicious activities. A couple of the encryption algorithms currently being used for RFID communications include RSA, NTRU. Not only would an eavesdropper need to be able to crack the encryption being used, they would first need to determine the frequency and protocol being used by the targeted tag.

Analysis of Social Impact

Below are some negative and positive impacts of RFID technology to our society:

First, Radio frequency is one of the technology that supermarket are already using in a number of places throughout the store. We now envision a day where consumers will walk into a store, select products whose packages are embedded with small radio frequency UPC Codes, and exit the store without ever going through a checkout line signing their name on a dotted line. This RFID technology also would expand marketers' ability to monitor individuals' behavior to undreamt of extremes. This technology also will help to lessen theft in stores. But the problem here is once you buy, assuming a RFID tagged jeans at the gap with RFID tagged money, walk out of the store wearing RFID tagged shoes and get into your car with its RFID tagged tires, you could be tracked anywhere you travel.

Bar codes are usually scanned at the store but not after purchase. But RFID transponders are, in many cases, forever part of the product, and designed to respond when they receive a signal. Imagine everything you own is numbered, identified, catalogue and tracked. it's possible to destroy a RFID tag. You can crush it, puncture it or microwave it but be careful of fires. Remember that you can't drown it and you can't demagnetize it. Washing RFID tagged clothes won't remove the chips, since they're specifically designed to withstand years of wearing, washing and drying. You could remove the chip from your jeans but you'd have to find it first.

Second, RFID technology can also be used maliciously. By hiding a tag in your clothes, someone could potentially track your movements and records information about you. This has caused significant anxiety for those who are concerned about privacy that has resulted in calls for RFID regulations laws.

Third, Visa is combining smart cards and RFID chips so people can conduct transactions without having to use cash or coins. These smart cards can also be incorporated into cell phones and other devices. Thus, you could pay for parking, buy a newspaper or grab a soda from a vending machine without opening your wallet. This is wonderfully convenient but the specter of targeted personal ads popping up as I walk through the mall a la Minority Report does not thrill me. One reason why is because other people that do not know or have a knowledge about that kind of technology can think of me as a theft in the mall because every time I do a transaction I do not pay any money but instead I just get it and go.

Future Impact of the Technology

RFID developers are still working and expanding the limitations of this technology. As this technology become smaller, less expensive and capable of sending signal over longer distance, more application is possible. In this section, we will explore some of the potential future functions or applications of RFID technology, this are:

RFID technology can be use in smart packaging.

Barcodes, the current standard for product identification may soon be replaced by RFID tags. A barcode is a series of black and white stripes that is usually found on the package of a product and represents an identification number. A scanner can be used to interpret these stripes when the information they represent is required. This information is usually stored as a number that correspond to an entry in a table that stores detailed information about the product. While barcodes requires a line of sight connection between the tag and the scanner, RFID tags can communicate with any reader allow entire stores to reliably and efficiency manage their entire inventories with RFID readers. Another limitation of barcodes is their inability to be changed once they are printed. In contrast, RFID tags can be dynamically changed and updated as needed.

In addition to dramatically improving inventory systems, RFID technology allows for the storing of detailed information on merchandise packages, allowing products to be aware of their attributes. This awareness has a variety of practical applications. For example, customers could use a public in store reader to access personalized nutrition information about their intended food purchase, or get recommendation on how they could better balance their diet. RFID readers set up in homes could give updates on what foods need to replenished or thrown away, saving customers time and aggravation. Additionally, since more information can be stored on an RFID tag, identification information for each specific instance of a product can be stored in addition to information about the product category. Currently, the cheapest tags cost five cents each, a price that will cost Wal Mart, one of the top suppliers, one billion dollars per year. Nevertheless, there is optimism that plastic polymer electronic could replace metals in RFID technology reduce the price to less than one cent per tag.

RFID technology can be use for product integrity verification.

RFID tags could also be used in the near future to serve as a digital "finger print" for products to distinguish authentic items from counterfeits. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a plan to require all prescription drug distributors to implement RFID tags o track the merchandise by 2007. Intended to bring to an end to the spread of counterfeit drugs, each shipment will be allocated a specific product code that will identify it as authentic and allow for tracking of controlled substances. Health care facilities, pharmacies and hospitals will need to install readers with which to check each shipment. It is expected that at the current price of RFID technology, this transaction will cost health care companies at least a few hundred million dollars.

As tags readers drop in price and are made more readily accessible, it is possible that RFID technology will be used to verify the authenticity of many things from collector's items to currency. Some banks like European Central Bank has reportedly begun talks the Japanese electronics company Hitachi about embedding RFID tags in the Euro note because they hopes to significantly reduce counterfeiting and money laundering by using tags that identify the notes they are embedded in as authentic and record information about transaction they have been in.

RFID technology can be used for paying.

This can be implanted under the skin of a person. Some electronic company like Applied Digital Solutions hopes that these embedded tags will eventually replace easy to loose credit cards. A Verichip that can be implanted in a customer's arm or forehead transmit an identification code when signaled by an RFID reader. This identification code can represent anything including account information for financial transaction.

RFID technology can be use in tracking and recovery.

RFID tags embedded into objects can assist in their recovery if they are stolen or lost, and supply key evidence in the prosecution of thieves. Furthermore, tags could eventually be used to track allied military troops in the event of their capture by enemy forces or even to recover children who have been kidnapped. Although passive RFID tags currently only have a signal range of up to about 40 feet, scanners could be situated throughout the search area to increase the chances of detecting the missing person. There is optimism that even minimal implementation…

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